Each year six hundred million to one billion birds die due to city lights and window collisions. The lights on tall buildings disorient birds that use the stars and moon to navigate during migration. They circle the buildings repeatedly and either die of exhaustion or by colliding with the illuminated building. According to scientists at the Field Museum in Chicago, their mortality could be reduced 80% if those building lights were turned off. The windows of low-rise buildings are just as detrimental due to the much larger number of low-rise buildings compared to high-rise buildings in the U.S.
For more information about what Detroit Audubon is doing and what YOU can do, keep scrolling
Download the Great Lakes Safe Passage brochure here.
For more information about why birds hit windows, visit FLAP Canada’s page here.
For information on the importance of dark skies, visit the International Dark Sky Association’s site, here.
For information on National Audubon’s small steps to reduce light pollution click here.
For information on other Lights Out programs around the country, click here.
For information on tested products to make your windows bird-safe, visit American Bird Conservancy’s site, here.
For more information on DIY ways to make your windows bird safe visit Bird Safe Canada’s page, here.
For a PDF on Bird-Safe Building Design click here.
If you have found an injured bird, click here.
Report a Window Collision
If you find a bird (injured or deceased) that appears to have hit a window or building, please take a picture and report the incident to Global Bird Collision Mapper at birdmapper.org/app/. You can easily register and then report any suspected collision incident and where the bird was found. This information is EXTREMELY helpful to ornithologists in general trying to better understand bird collisions and especially to Detroit Audubon in order to determine which buildings are most problematic. If you are willing to, pick up the bird in a plastic bag and drop it off at our office, we can use the bird for further research with the University of Michigan’s Ornithological Collection.
Become a Safe Passage Volunteer
Detroit Audubon is always looking for volunteers to help us survey specific buildings around Detroit in order to determine which buildings are most problematic and most critical for remediation. As of Spring 2020 our target area is the University of Wayne State Campus. Unfortunately, this surveying involves collecting birds that have died due to window collisions, but with this data we can save hundreds of birds that migrate through Detroit. If you are interested in becoming part of this community science project, please contact Ava Landgraf at email@example.com
Ways to Prevent Window Collisions
Turn off lights, especially during migration season. The lights from tall buildings disorient birds and can leave them circling buildings until they crash or die from exhaustion. Visit https://www.darksky.org/light-pollution/wildlife/ for more information. However, we do not advocate turning off any lights necessary for human safety.
Make problem windows bird safe. Visit https://birdsafe.ca/preventing-collisions-home/ for more information.
Tell building owners and architects to invest in bird-safe glass products. Visit https://birdsafe.ca/workplaces-safe-for-birds/ for more information.